3.5m displaced students require support to resume education: PCE

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The civil society of Pakistan welcomed the pledges of more than $9 billion made by the international community for flood recovery efforts in a recent UN conference and urged for swift action to rehabilitate those affected by the floods.

This was said in a joint statement issued by the civil society here in Islamabad. Special emphasis was laid on prioritizing education in the distribution of disaster aid to support the swift recovery of the education system in the affected areas. The press statement was jointly issued by the Pakistan Coalition for Education (PCE), an initiative of the Society For Access to Quality Education, Centre for Peace and Development Initiative (CPDI), Pakitan Youth Change Advocates (PYCA), United Global Organization of Development (UGOOD), and renowned educationist, Dr.A.H. Nayyar. The statement was accompanied by a joint call to action asking state and non-state actors to take immediate measures to bring the displaced children back to school. This entails diverting sufficient disaster aid towards education as well as providing conditional cash transfers to the affected households to facilitate the education of their children. The call-to-action also stressed the need to make Pakistan’s education system resilient to future emergencies by speedy and quality reconstruction of damaged school infrastructure complete with basic facilities such as boundary walls, washrooms, clean drinking water, utilities, multiple classrooms, teaching aides, and a minimum number of trained teachers. Building back better also demands making a strong preparedness and disaster-risk management component inherent to the education system at the federal, provincial, district, and school levels. Finally, the National Curriculum of Pakistan (NCP) needs to be revised so that it can impart age-appropriate “green”, Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Disaster Risk Management (DRM) education to students. “The 3.5 million students who were displaced as a result of last year’s floods in Pakistan belong to the same group of marginalized children whose education was most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, there were an estimated 22.8 million out-of-school children (OOSC) in Pakistan. The majority, or 77% of these OOSC, hailed from rural areas and 54% of them were girls,” shared Zehra Arshad, the National Coordinator for PCE.